1.) The first thing that I learned from Liverpool’s US Tour really isn’t anything groundbreaking, and it really is as simple as, Liverpool need their front 3 of Firmino, Salah, and Mane back ASAP. Although yesterday against Sporting showed glimpses of fluidity in the final third it is clear to see how deeply missed they are. Especially Firmino in my honest opinion, I may be alone in this thinking but my mind when watching Liverpool attack points out Firmino’s off the ball movement as key in every single attack. When Firmino drops deep as that False 9, it frees both Salah and Mane up to attack either more centrally or over the top as it may force the cbs to follow Firmino. Without Firmino the offense seems more stagnant and solely relies on the fullbacks crossing the ball, which as you may remember against Barcelona in the second leg was highly successful, but with that comes precautions as you can’t play only that way for an entirety of a season. A player of Firmino’s caliber as that False 9 allows Mane and Salah, both as talented or more, to bang in the goals which seems to continue this year. Which brings me to my next point.
2.) Liverpool deeply need attacking reinforcement. It was clear as day to see how much the attack struggled all tour without the front 3. What confuses me is that they don’t have to be backup, they can start if Klopp moves back to his traditional 4-2-3-1. A player like Bruno Fernandes is the missing piece to Liverpool’s puzzle. We watched as he quite simply dazzled on the field, turning his head up absolutely anywhere, whether that be on the long shot he scored, the assist he made happen, or the crucial block he made when Wij was through for his second. It almost looked as if he was trying to get Klopp’s attention with his work rate alone. To stick him at the 10 and allow both him and Firmino to free roam and work together would be more than ideal, and with Fernandes’ work rate he would slot in perfectly there. Klopp came out and said some bullshit about how they weren’t in the running but who even knows at this point with all the games he plays with the media. The first point shows that if any of the front 3, God forbid, go down with injury, some sort of cover is needed to fill their gaping hole. Bruno Fernandes can be that cover.
3.) Along with attacking reinforcement, Liverpool desperately need, probably even more so, fullback cover. To say Joe Gomez and James Milner are terrible players is nothing short of blasphemy, but that is at their normal positions, Center Back and Center Mid respectively. Joey Gomez and Milner are not fullbacks, and especially can’t be fullbacks in Klopp’s system of bombing forward and pressing the shit out of the other team. Klopp couldn’t have hand picked two better fullbacks for his system if he had all the money in the world, but he desperately needs cover, once again, if God forbid, one goes down. They shouldn’t be stars and they shouldn’t be expecting heavy minutes, but to find someone who can run all game and put in at least half decent crosses can’t be TOO hard. Just someone who will bust their ass for 90 minutes at a time.
4.) Liverpool should play the 4-2-3-1 this season. Although Fabinho flourished in all aspects of the game against Sporting, including playing enticing forward passes, he should not be expected to do that game in game out. Next to Fabinho at the other pivot should be a creative midfielder by the likes of Naby Keita, Ox, or even Wijnaldum. In my opinion it should be the former. Naby Keita became the player he is today, the player Liverpool wanted so much they struck a deal in which they would send the player back on loan, by playing in Leipzig’s 4-2-2-2 as a creative double pivot. Keita became one of the best in the world at that position, unfortunately was forced to play in a 3 man midfield and even as a lw sometimes for Liverpool. Another plus to this is that Jurgen Klopp made a career for himself using the 4-2-3-1 formation and found huge success with it as well. Playing the 4-2-3-1 will allow 4 attackers to hammer opposing defenses and will still be able to continue their pestering trademarked press. With Fabinho cleaning up everything in sight and Naby Keita showing the Premier League the potential he has, the Liverpool team will be a force to be reckoned with.
5.) 2 losses and 1 draw in the US preseason tour means absolutely nothing. Have no fear Liverpool fans. The team is without their star front 3 and most players who played were at 60% fitness and needed the games to get them ready for the season. Liverpool are nowhere near 100% form, especially when players like Ryan Kent and Harry Wilson are getting minutes, who may not be of Liverpool talent in Klopp’s eye.
There ya go the 5 things I learned from Liverpool’s US tour. It wasn’t as successful as I would’ve liked but really the results don’t matter, Yassir Larouci went down but it doesn’t seem serious, recent reports came out that the Ox is frustrated by a calf issue but it isn’t a bad problem I believe. Next preseason game is Sunday against Napoli and I believe Firmino and Sarah will be back, hopefully. I will Catch Ya Then!
My twitter is @LFCeltics